Respect for the dead

Submitted by Matthew on 16 April, 2013 - 9:07

Janine Booth is a member of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union Executive and Workers’ Liberty. She has written and performed poetry for many years. She wrote this piece in response to the death of Margaret Thatcher.

Respect for the dead

Today I mourn the passing of those who deserve our tears

The many many victims of Margaret Thatcher’s years

The teenage generation, hopes destroyed without a care

Like jobless Sean and Raffy*, who ended lives filled with despair

Derelict inner cities where hopelessness was rife

Miners who lost their jobs, their communities and some their life

The millions who rely on a battered welfare state

The victims of the queerbashers emboldened by Section 28

The families of the 96, the contempt she showed for fans

The crew of the General Belgrano, bereaved families in both lands

Part of me’s not partying to mark that Thatcher’s dead

But wishing we were toasting the death of Thatcherism instead

I wish that she had lived to see her side of the class war lose

To see our side victorious, as reds strike out the blues

I wish she’d lived to see our sleeping giant wake

A mighty army rise up, a better world to make

Cast off the legal shackles, forsake the ball and chain

The “socialism” word she thought she’d killed back on our lips again

Labour leaders squandered 13 years to right her wrongs

And now join in the mourning and the requiem of songs

Remember you’ll get up with fleas if you lie down with curs

I wish our class was led as loyally as she led hers!

So you won’t see me mourning now that Thatcher’s dead and gone

The thing to really celebrate is that our struggle soldiers on

I’ll shed no tears for Maggie, and may even raise a glass

As a Shrewsbury picket might have said, “Respect for the dead? My arse”

* Sean Grant and Graeme “Raffy” Rathbone, whose suicide became symbolic of youth unemployment and despair, with “Sean and Raffy RIP” graffiti appearing around the country.

Follow Janine on Twitter: @JanineBooth

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